Bridgestone are confident that the super soft tyre will be a good race tyre tomorrow, as well as being the tyre of choice for qualifying.
All of the top ten drivers in qualifying today, apart from Adrian Sutil, chose the super soft tyre to set their fastest laps, and the new regulations mean that they must start with that set in the grand prix.
Quizzed after today’s running, Hirohide Hamashima, the Director of Motorsport Tyre Development for Bridgestone, summarised the day from the company’s viewpoint, and had praise for drivers at both ends of the grid. “Today was very exciting as it was the first qualifying session with the latest rules and the first time we have been able to see all the cars against each other on low fuel loads at the same time. The super soft compound was the preferred compound today and it delivered a faster lap than the medium compound.
“Congratulations to Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull for the first pole of the year. Well done also to Karun Chandhok at the other end of the grid for the HRT F1 Team, as his first run in the car was in the qualifying session and he showed very good focus for the task.”
Hamashima expects to see the teams adopt a variety of strategies, and says that the ban on refuelling will give the teams more to ponder when it comes to tyre management. “Last year the circuit improved a lot in the race, but the strategists need to be wary of conditions in case there are any sand storms tonight. The medium compound gives good stable performance, but is not as fast over a single lap as the super soft. The difference between compounds for a race stint is not very clear cut so far, meaning we should see a variety of approaches.
“For all drivers there is not the constraint of having to stop to refuel, so the pit stops can occur at any time in the race, so this aspect will be very interesting.
“Even if the circuit conditions are good tomorrow, drivers will have to be very vigilant, especially on the first laps, when the cars are heaviest and the tyres at their coolest.”